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Omaha at Human Scale: Working Parent and Transit

2 Jan

This will be the final edition of this run of Omaha at Human Scale. We look forward to 2019 being a year of activity and activism for Mode Shift Omaha.

Nicole Wheeler is Vice Chair of the Mode Shift Board of Directors.

As a working parent, I am always running from work to school to someone’s evening activity. I spend my days working in advertising at Hudl and my husband, Ted, and I operate a roving bookstore, Dundee Book Company, in our free time. When I moved from my job at Yahoo in West Omaha to the downtown Hudl office, one of the many perks in making the job change was that I would finally be able to take the bus to work. I have  been interested in the effects of climate change since I was a child and the fact that I couldn’t take the biggest step of limiting my driving had always bothered me. Being able to make this change was something that allowed me to live true to my personal values and show my children how to do so as well.

Ted at the Bus Stop

Ted is a writer and works from home and is able to walk our kids to school each day. The number 2 bus is in close proximity to our home. The times when Ted is out of town for extended periods of time really puts our bus riding to the test. If the children are at different locations, pick up and drop off become a long planned journey with several stops. These trips serve as a great teaching moment, when I can show my kids that they can navigate the city via bus and teach them how to do so on their own. We also run errands together on the bus, which is a great lesson in only buying things you need and things that you really want to carry home.

Our days typically start with Ted walking the kids to school, while I take the bus downtown. We leave around the same time, walk a few blocks together and part ways where I head for the bus and everyone else heads for the school. The kids usually stay for clubs or after-school care, as our jobs go until 5 or 6 pm. If I need to pick them up, I take the bus one stop further than normal and can be at the school in a few minutes walk time. From there, we can walk home via the Dodge St. subway/underpass, lugging backpacks and musical instruments the few blocks it takes to get there. Having to carry all of that home really highlights how much stuff kids are carrying around all day long. The walk home is a great time to decompress and have a conversation about everyone’s days.

Waiting patiently for the bus

For other parents who would like to try and take the bus, I would suggest first, waiting until the time is right in your life. If it doesn’t work for you with small babies, then give yourself a break and wait until it does. Secondly, see if you can switch your mode once or twice a week. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing and taking the bus even a few times a week can alleviate an enormous amount of commuting-driven stress. I’ve met very few parents who wouldn’t love 30 minutes to themselves and the bus is a great chance to get that.

Back on the Bus!

I’m happiest getting around Omaha by bus and I would rather move to a city with more public transit than have to rely on a car again, but none of this would work for me without a spouse who works close to our children’s school; a flexible, supportive employer; a good supply of quality base layer clothing and a lot of sunscreen. I’m privileged to have all those things and I’ve met many wonderful people on the bus who don’t have any other choice but to rely on the bus – with or without that same support. Our system works for me, but as we continue to mature it, I hope that it can work for everyone.

Omaha at Human Scale: Transit dependence requires dependable transit

11 Dec
Interior of a Metro Bus

Madeline Brush is a member of the Mode Shift Board of Directors.

I am legally blind, meaning I cannot drive a car. I depend on Metro Transit to get around Omaha.  I usually take the #15, to go to Midtown Crossing. When I get to 32nd and Farnam, I get a coffee, or grab some Chinese food. It is unfortunate that the route frequency is only every 30 minutes — if it’s on schedule. Since I have limited vision, it is difficult for me to read the street signs. Public transportation is great and affordable, but I wish all the bus drivers would announce the numbered streets. Some of them do, especially if I tell them where I need to get off the bus. Sometimes they forget when it is a longer bus ride.

Madeline

The second bus that I take often is the #2 on Dodge street.  My mom and siblings live near the route, so it is easy for me to catch the bus downtown and get off  at UNO. From there I can walk to see my family. I know to request a stop when I see the
the green pedestrian bridge near UNO.  I go to Dundee often. I can get off at 50th and Dodge and walk to my favorite businesses. 

I am excited for ORBT, Metro’s Bus Rapid Transit or the  BRT. I will be able to pay with my smartphone, and the new buses will have an automatic audible announcement  the upcoming stops.

Route 2 to Westroads

I have heard from a few bus riders that their bus is not dependable. I tell them to call or email Metro — they want to hear from the public if the service isn’t working. Metro is making improvements to the system with new bus shelters and buses and more technology to connect passengers. As someone who depends on the bus, I am grateful Omaha is investing in public transportation.

Bemis Park Historic Neighborhood Tour – Bus Routes

9 Oct

Join us October 13 & 14

Mode Shift Omaha is happy to be working with Restoration Exchange Omaha on their upcoming tour of the historic Bemis Park neighborhood. October 13 – 14, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., MSO will be providing bike valet services at Augustana Lutheran Church, 3647 Lafayette Avenue.

Image may contain: sky, house, tree, plant and outdoor

In addition to bike valet, we are recommending that people consider arriving by bus as there is very limited parking in these historic neighborhoods. Please note: Saturday and Sunday service will have different schedules. All times are approximate. We recommend using Google Maps for plotting a more precise plan from your specific location.

From North Omaha Transit Center

From North Omaha Transit Center (NOTC)on 30th Street, one block south of Ames, we recommend using Route 3. Saturday the route is every 30 minutes, leaving NOTC on the 15s and 45s. Disembark at 40th and Hamilton, walk east, on Hamilton to 38th and turn right. Lafayette and the Church will be on the left. Sunday frequency is 60 minutes, leaving NOTC on the 15s.

From South Omaha Transit Center

The South Omaha Transit Center (SOTC) located on the south side of Metro Community College’s South Campus, is also on Route 3, and that will be the most direct route. Saturday frequency is every 30 minutes on the top and bottom of the hour. Sunday frequency is 60 minutes leaving SOTC on the hour. Ride the 3 bus to 40th and Hamilton, then walk east to 38th Street, turn right, Lafayette will be on your left.

From Westroads Transit Center

From Westroads Transit Center (WRTC), located at the northwest corner of the Westroads Mall parking lot, take the Route 4 toward downtown. Saturday the route is every 30 minutes leaving WRTC on :03s and :33s. Sunday frequency is 60 minutes, leaving WRTC on the :03s. Disembark at 38th and Cuming Street, cross Cuming and walk north approximately 3 blocks. Augustana Lutheran will be on your right.

From Downtown

From downtown, catch the Route 44 bus heading west at 13th and Farnam. Deboard the bus at 38th and Cuming, walk north on 38th Street approximately 3 blocks to Augustana Lutheran. Saturday frequency is 30 minutes leaving downtown on the :11s and :41s; Sunday is hourly on the :11s.